Gala Traditions Rocked

Houston Symphony crowd will never be the same after Saturday night's Carnaval

Symphony crowd will never be the same after Saturday's 'Carnaval' gala

Symphony Ball 5/16 Steve Mach, Joella Mach, Jana Arnoldy, Scotty Arnoldy
 Steve Mach, Joella Mach, Jana Arnoldy, Scotty Arnoldy. Photo by Priscilla Dickson
Symphony Ball 5/16, DJ Kalkutta
DJ Kalkutta. Photo by Anthony Rathbun
Symphony Ball 5/16, Bill Gutknecht and Christine Falgout-Gutknecht, Jo Lynn and Greg Falgout.
Bill Gutknecht,Christine Falgout-Gutknecht, Jo Lynn Falgout, Greg Falgout.  Photo by Dave Rossman
Symphony Ball 5/16, Lindy Rydman, John Rydman, Bebel Gilberto, Lisa Rydman
Lindy Rydman, John Rydman, Bebel Gilberto, Lisa Rydman. Photo by Anthony Rathbun
Symphony Ball 5/16, Christina Hanson, Mark Hanson
Christina Hanson, Mark Hanson. Photo by Dave Rossman
Symphony Ball 5/16, Phoebe Tudor, Bobby Tudor
Phoebe Tudor, Bobby Tudor. Photo by Dave Rossman
Symphony Ball 5/16, Margaret Alkek Williams, Daniel Paltridge
Margaret Alkek Williams, Daniel Paltridge. Photo by Dave Rossman
Symphony Ball 5/16, Candace Lyons, Kari Anderson, Julie Moulas, Jaci Smith
Candace Lyons, Kari Anderson, Julie Moulas, Jaci Smith. Photo by Dave Rossman
Symphony Ball 5/16, Cora Sue Mach, Harry Mach
Cora Sue Mach, Harry Mach. Photo by Dave Rossman
Symphony Ball 5/16, Janet Gurwitch, Ron Franklin
Janet Gurwitch, Ron Franklin. Photo by Dave Rossman
Symphony Ball 5/16, Diane Lokey Farb
Diane Lokey Farb. Photo by Dave Rossman
Symphony Ball 5/16, Mary Ann McKeithan, David McKeithan
Mary Ann McKeithan, David McKeithan. Photo by Dave Rossman
Symphony Ball 5/16, Valerie Dieterich, Tracy Dieterich
Valerie Dieterich, Tracy Dieterich. Photo by Dave Rossman
Symphony Ball 5/16, Lynn Wyatt
Lynn Wyatt. Photo by Dave Rossman
Symphony Ball 5/16, Samba dancer
One of the numerous colorful samba dancers. Photo by Dave Rossman
Symphony Ball 5/16, Betsy Garlington, Sybil Roos, Cathey Cook
Betsy Garlington, Sybil Roos, Cathey Cook. Photo by Dave Rossman
Symphony Ball 5/16, Billy McCartney, Christie McCartney
Billy McCartney, Christie McCartney. Photo by Dave Rossman
Symphony Ball 5/16, Stephanie von Stein, Ralph Burch
Stephanie von Stein, Ralph Burch. Photo by Dave Rossman
Symphony Ball 5/16 Steve Mach, Joella Mach, Jana Arnoldy, Scotty Arnoldy
Symphony Ball 5/16, DJ Kalkutta
Symphony Ball 5/16, Bill Gutknecht and Christine Falgout-Gutknecht, Jo Lynn and Greg Falgout.
Symphony Ball 5/16, Lindy Rydman, John Rydman, Bebel Gilberto, Lisa Rydman
Symphony Ball 5/16, Christina Hanson, Mark Hanson
Symphony Ball 5/16, Phoebe Tudor, Bobby Tudor
Symphony Ball 5/16, Margaret Alkek Williams, Daniel Paltridge
Symphony Ball 5/16, Candace Lyons, Kari Anderson, Julie Moulas, Jaci Smith
Symphony Ball 5/16, Cora Sue Mach, Harry Mach
Symphony Ball 5/16, Janet Gurwitch, Ron Franklin
Symphony Ball 5/16, Diane Lokey Farb
Symphony Ball 5/16, Mary Ann McKeithan, David McKeithan
Symphony Ball 5/16, Valerie Dieterich, Tracy Dieterich
Symphony Ball 5/16, Lynn Wyatt
Symphony Ball 5/16, Samba dancer
Symphony Ball 5/16, Betsy Garlington, Sybil Roos, Cathey Cook
Symphony Ball 5/16, Billy McCartney, Christie McCartney
Symphony Ball 5/16, Stephanie von Stein, Ralph Burch

Houston Symphony ball chair Jana Arnoldy set one goal for Saturday night's gala — make it fun. Her co-chair and husband Scotty Arnoldy had another goal in mind — raise big bucks. They both succeeded wildly with Carnaval, held on stage and atop the seating at Jones Hall.

No symphony ball crowd has ever had more exhilarating fun while raising almost $1.5 million. Applause, applause for the Arnoldys.

Inhibitions of the traditionally stately crowd began dissipating on the red carpet where arrivals were greeted by Jana. No demure ballchair this one, she was dressed in red Alexander McQueen gown and a massive Rio-inspired headdress, and displayed her impressive salsa moves on the red carpet where she was joined by a coterie of costumed carnival dancers. The scantily-clad show girls and two heartthrob hunks were at play throughout the night.

The Brazilian-themed bash featured not only a samba presentation but also the talents of the world's top Brazilian chanteuse, Bebel Gilberto and after-dinner dancing with the samba crew to the irresistible sounds of David Caceres.  For the after-party, chaired by Valerie and Tracy Dieterich, New York's DJ Kalkutta kept the dance floor rocking into the wee hours.

"This is what I hoped our carnaval in Houston would look like," Jana said as she surveyed the concert hall, cleverly engineered into a five-tiered dining area just as it was when Cora Sue and Harry Mach chaired the symphony ball in 2014. The Event's Company and Richard Flowers orchestrated the decor that included everything from large screens to light play on fabric drops to towering centerpieces replete with tropical flowers and fruit. Bananas, anyone?

The evening honored Sybil Roos; Lindy and John Rydman, with their Spec's Charitable Foundation and Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods; and symphony associate conductor Robert Franz.

One particular gent garnered much of the night's attention — Daniel Paltridge, Bulgari  North America president, who had as many women swooning over his handsome looks as did the striking male samba dancers. Paltridge and Bulgari vice president Nathalie Diamantis flew in from New York to oversee the lavish selection of Bulgari auction items they had provided including an incredible trip to Rome. Bulgari also provided the party favors — a bottle of the new fragrance Thé Bleu and a $500 gift card. 

Symphony leadership stepping out on this night included society board president Steve Mach and Joella, society chairman Bobby Tudor and Phoebe, endowment chair Jesse Tutor and Betty, development chair Jerry Simon and Lisa, special events chair Mary Lynn Marks and Steve, and symphony executive director and CEO Mark Hanson and Christina. Key to the evening's success were auction chairs Mary Ann and David McKeithan.

Taking to the dance floor were Lynn Wyatt, Brenda and Ed Jones, Margaret Alkek Williams, Carol and Mike Linn, Janet Gurwitch and Ron Franklin, Susan and Dick Hansen, Lisa Rydman, Denise Monteleone and Jim Martin, Robin Angly and Miles Smith, Joni Baird, Gina and Dr. Devinder Bhatia, Brad and Joan Corson, and Cheryl and Sam Byington.

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